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OSHA Chief Vows to Continue Past Policies

Jonathan Snare, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, affirmed that OSHA will continue to expand voluntary programs while maintaining "strong, fair and effective enforcement."

Speaking March 2 in one of his first public speeches since taking the helm at OSHA, Snare addressed the midwinter meeting of the American Bar Association's Occupational Safety and Health committee being held in Key West, Fla.

"OSHA is committed to expanding education, outreach and compliance assistance," Snare told conference attendees.

As evidence of this commitment, Snare cited the $1 million increase for state compliance assistance programs in the president's proposed 2006 budget.

OSHA's enforcement program will be maintained at its current level, with the same number of projected inspections as last year, according to Snare. The proposed 2006 enforcement budget, after allowing for inflation, also will remain the same as last year.

Expanding OSHA's compliance assistance, outreach and cooperative programs was possibly the most significant accomplishment of John Henshaw, the previous OSHA administrator. One question being asked by some attendees at the ABA conference is whether Snare will continue Henshaw's legacy. In his remarks, Snare appeared to signal that he would.

Another possible indication of OSHA's continued commitment to voluntary programs is the promotion of Kim Lazor to chief of staff. Lazor previously served as a special assistant to the assistant secretary and, according to Snare, "was key to expanding OSHA's compliance assistance efforts and stakeholder outreach."

Snare briefly spoke of OSHA's regulatory program near the end of his talk, listing the various items on the agency's rulemaking agenda.

Although Snare offered no new information on OSHA rules in the making, he appeared to place special emphasis on the agency's plan to update national consensus standards that are incorporated in OSHA regulations.

"We're going to be focusing a great deal of effort" on updating those national consensus standards, he said.

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